Storm Remains Team to Beat
By Scott Stanchak, WNBA.com

The top two teams in our last rankings suffered losses this week, but that doesn’t mean they’ll lose their spots this week. Let’s take a look at where the rest landed.

2010 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: 6/18

TEAM (last week) W / L NOTES
1
Seattle (1)
9-2 The Storm still have the best record in the league after Thursday night’s 65-72 loss to the Indiana Fever. Lauren Jackson, Camille Little and Sue Bird combined for 44 of Seattle’s total points. The Storm came into the game having won six in a row, five of those against Western Conference opponents, including a Phoenix team that is heating up. A rematch against Indiana is on the table for next Friday, so expect them to be extra prepared.
Next Three Games: 6/18 at New York, 6/20 vs. San Antonio, 6/25 vs. Indiana
2
Atlanta (2)
9-3 Despite having the second best record in the league, the Dream ran into a rough patch two weeks ago. They had lost three of four, and all of those defeats came by at least 10 points. A trip back home cured the woes, as the Dream knocked off the San Antonio Silver Stars, 90-83, last Sunday. Two nights later, in Chicago, they picked up yet another win behind forward Iziane Castro Marques’ 31 points. That victory was key because Atlanta had lost to the Sky during their losing stretch.
Next Three Games: 6/19 at Indiana, 6/23 vs. Tulsa, 6/27 vs. Los Angeles
3
Indiana (4)
7-4 The Fever are the league’s best defensive teams and showed that against the now 9-2 Storm. Seattle’s 65 points were the least they’ve scored in a game this year. Indiana, which has been holding opponents to a league-low 69 points a game thus far, only received 15 points from Katie Douglas and 12 from Tamika Catchings in the win. They’ll put their two-game win streak up against the No. 2 team in our rankings, the Dream, on Saturday. It’s a tough three-day stretch, but coming out victorious would be a monumental confidence boost.
Next Three Games: 6/19 vs. Atlanta, 6/25 at Seattle, 6/27 at Chicago
4
Washington (5)
6-4 Similar to Atlanta, the Mystics also endured a rough patch a few weeks back. Theirs, however, featured four losses in five games. They bounced back last weekend though with wins over two conference mates, the Sky and New York Liberty. Each game featured four players in double-figure scoring for the Mystics. Monique Currie’s (22 pts, 8 reb., 5 ast) performance in Friday’s 95-78 win in Chicago was perhaps the most impressive. The Mystics have just one game before next week’s rankings, a rematch against the Sky.
Next Three Games: 6/19 vs. Chicago, 6/24 vs. Los Angeles, 6/25 at Chicago
5
Connecticut (3)
6-3 Connecticut split a home-and-away weekend series with the Fever a few days ago. Game one featured guard Renee Montgomery bursting out for a season-high 29 points in the 86-77 win. Sunday’s loss, however, saw an uncharacteristic performance from rookie center Tina Charles. The “Rookie of the Year” candidate was held to a season-low two points and four rebounds in over 23 minutes of action. The Sun head out west now for a weekend road trip against Los Angeles and Phoenix. They’ve yet to win on the road this season so it’s important to come out of this swing on the positive end.
Next Three Games: 6/18 at Los Angeles, 6/20 at Phoenix, 6/22 vs. Chicago
6
Phoenix (6)
5-5 The Mercury will keep moving up the rankings if Diana Taurasi, who was named Player of the Week on Monday, can continue her torrid scoring streak. Taurasi averaged 23.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists in three games starting last Tuesday. That resulted in surpassing Candace Parker as the league’s top scorer. The Mercury ended up winning two of those three games, including putting up a season-high 116 points at home against Tulsa. This week, the Mercury head to San Antonio and Connecticut for matchups against teams they’ve yet to play this season. Connecticut will be the tougher of the two as they’ve yet to lose in Mohegan Sun Arena.
Next Three Games: 6/18 vs. San Antonio, 6/20 vs. Connecticut, 6/25 at Connecticut
7
New York (9)
4-5 The Liberty start the trend in this week’s rankings of teams with sub .500 records. Despite being 4-5, they are still just 1.5 games out of the fourth playoff spot in the East with plenty of time to make up ground. Their position in the standings isn’t helped by the fact that all of their losses have come against teams in their own conference. This includes Saturday’s 65-82 loss in the nation’s capital. In that contest, New York wasn’t able to put up more than 19 points in any quarter. They also had 24 turnovers compared to Washington's eight. New York did, however, pick up a big 91-79 win against a good Atlanta squad on Friday.
Next Three Games: 6/18 vs. Seattle, 6/22 vs. Minnesota, 6/25 at Tulsa
8
Tulsa (8)
3-6 Things were looking so promising for this young Shock squad. Tulsa had won three of four after starting the season with back-to-back losses, pulling them into second place in the West. Then, things took a turn for the worse. The Shock have lost three straight, including one last Friday to a Silver Stars team that had lost four consecutive. The following night, in Phoenix, the Mercury beat them by 32 points. Tulsa looked to mix things up, so on Tuesday sent forward Plenette Pierson to the Liberty for forward Tiffany Jackson. Pierson (12.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg) had better offensive numbers than Jackson (4.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg) but the move might have been made to get younger at the spot. Jackson has just three years under her belt compared to Pierson’s seven.
Next Three Games: 6/18 at Minnesota, 6/19 vs. Minnesota, 6/23 at Atlanta
9
Chicago (7)
4-7 Four has been an interesting number for the Sky so far this season. First, they went on a four-game losing streak. They followed that up with a four-game win streak. Now they’re in the midst of three straight defeats and take on dangerous Washington on Saturday and Connecticut on Tuesday. Both earlier meetings with those teams this season have resulted in losses, so revenge will be on their mind. What’s even tougher to swallow regarding their back-to-back-to-back losses is that they all came on their home court at Allstate Arena.
Next Three Games: 6/19 at Washington, 6/22 at Connecticut, 6/25 vs. Washington
10
San Antonio (11)
3-6 Here’s a fun fact for you: Michelle Snow leads all players in votes for the 2010 “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun” game. In second is her teammate Jayne Appel. On the floor, the team has been less successful, having lost five of their last six. They did pick up a victory against the Tulsa Shock on Friday. That meeting saw the return of Becky Hammon, who had been nursing a muscle strain. San Antonio couldn’t get a streak going though, as they fell to the Dream two nights later. Despite the 3-6 record, they’re in third place in the West, two games behind the second-place Mercury.
Next Three Games: 6/18 at Phoenix, 6/20 at Seattle, 6/26 vs. Minnesota
11
Los Angeles (10)
3-7 Los Angeles has struggled much of the season and things certainly won’t be getting any easier. It was announced late Thursday that former MVP Candace Parker would miss the remainder of the year after suffering a dislocated shoulder in last Sunday’s 88-84 victory over the Lynx. Parker, one of the league’s top scorers and rebounders, also missed a good portion of last season after giving birth. Los Angeles has yet to streak this season and will look to do so on Friday night against the Sun.
Next Three Games: 6/18 vs. Connecticut, 6/24 at Washington, 6/27 at Atlanta
12
Minnesota (12)
2-9 There’s no hiding the fact that the Lynx have been underperforming this season. Their 2-9 record is worst in the WNBA, and they’ve lost four straight, including two to teams currently with only three wins (Tulsa and Los Angeles). Not even the return of two-time All-Star Seimone Augustus could help. This weekend won’t get any easier for Minnesota, who takes on the Shock Friday and Saturday night in a home-and-away series. With a 1-2 record against Tulsa already in 2010, you’d hope they’ve picked up on something that could help them grab a W. On a positive note, the Lynx do have six players averaging double-figure scoring, with two others just outside. The problem is, while they’re averaging 77 points a game, opponents are dropping 87.
Next Three Games: 6/18 vs. Tulsa, 6/19 at Tulsa, 6/22 at New York

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